Thursday, August 4, 2011

Empty Lot of the Week-- August 4th **Our 100th Post!!!***

Jefferlot of Broken Dreams

Bounded by 9th, Sansom, 10th, and a big fucking parking garage

What the fuck? Corner of 9th and Sansom from Google.
                   This is a lot that shouldn't fucking exist. It represents the culmination of a lot of really bad decisions and broken dreams. Even the building that is on this lot is a sad disgrace. This is officially the longest period of time in the city's history that this spot has not been developed. What a fuck-up this Desert of Donkey Balls is.
                  The south 900 block of Chestnut Street has been nice since it was first developed. It was originally home to some grand row-mansions but spent most of it's developed life as a string of beautiful old commercial buildings.

1851. Click to see all the details.
                     Every time one of the buildings was demolished, a new beautiful commercial building replaced it. A few of the original ones from the drawing above survived all the way up into the latter half of the 20th Century.

                    When the 1990's rolled around, parcel after parcel started to mysteriously disappear. A Chicago-based company called Urban Growth was buying them up and knocking them the fuck down one by one. They finally sealed the deal in 2002 by buying up all the remaining spots (some of which were already empty lots) and taking out the legendary I. Goldberg building that the corner of 9th and Chestnut.

The Jefferlot, nearly complete in 2002. Don't worry, the mural got repainted elsewhere. Too bad there isn't an Underground Railroad for cool buildings.
                    This created a fully empty block right in the heart of Center City that sat completely vacant for nearly 4 years. Urban Growth knew that Jefferson Hospital had a ridiculously huge campus expansion plan that required lots of land and a big fucking parking garage. They were going to sell or lease the land to Jeff and make lots and lots of dollars.
                     The first part of this plan was parking. Jeff needed a new parking facility that would serve their current and future needs. They intended to knock down more city blocks and build an almost brand-new campus.

A later version of that plan but you get the idea. That gigantic blue blocks-spanning building was to be the new Ambulatory Care Center that would take up the rest of the Jefferlot.
                      They managed to get the 700-car parking garage at 10th and Chestnut built after a few years of zoning battles and negative press. Their primary excuse was that they would need the immense garage for their future campus plans. The compromises that Jeff made to get this monstrosity of a garage approved was to have a cool facade design and to include retail on the first floor. They also agreed to open up retail spots on the blank wall of the Gibbon Building. 
                      The garage, opened 2006, has been a failure. They had the facade designed by the same numbnuts who designed Dockside Apartments. The retail spaces took forever to find tenants and there is still one that remains empty. The Gibbon Building retails spaces NEVER happened, even though that was part of the agreement. The only thing it's been successful at is parking cars.

Jefferlot with massive parking garage from the corner of 9th and Chestnut. There's not enough crappy building wraps in the world to make you look good, you fuck. Image from Google.
                     Jefferson's plan for the rest of the Jefferlot was to be a huge multi-phase Ambulatory Care Center. It would fill the Jefferlot and then later get expanded to wrap all the way around the Edison Building, as you can see in the rendering a few paragraphs above. Construction was to begin in 2010. Obviously, it never fucking happened.
                     As the building of the Wocka Flocka Flame Center suggests, Jefferson has scrapped this huge master plan... but hope still exists for this lot and the Ambulatory Care Center. I found this little rendering lying around in the internet labeled as "New Jefferson Hospital Ambulatory Care Building" and it appears to be at the corner of 9th and Chestnut.

Not exactly a looker but better than what's there now.
                      Don't get your fucking hopes up. The agenda for the June 28th 2011 Washington West Civic Association Meeting of the Zoning and Government Affairs Committee had an application for an extension of the 3-year "temporary" approval of this shitty surface lot. We're just going to have to wait this one out and probably for a long fucking time. Jefferson still hasn't completed it's 1966 Master Plan.



  1. You'll notice that the master plan image shows the demolition of the east side of 10th St from Sansom to Walnut as part of the plan. That's still going to happen someday, I used to work in the office on that block.

    From what we heard at the time I was leaving, that was 15-20 years out.

    The president, Dr. Barchi, gave a presentation before I left and the plan for that area was discussed. Ambulatory care and the demolition of the 100 block of 10th St for park space will happen, but the timeline has been pushed way back.

  2. Jeff doesn,t even bother to maintain the facade lighting that was installed on the parking garage. Used to a nicely lit oasis. Now mostly dark because not interested in changing the burnt out bulbs.